How to Add Color to Your Winter Garden?

Trees and Shrubs
Winter Garden Color

Gardens often look sad and colorless in winter. This happens because there aren't many plants that can produce color during the winter months. In order to make your garden look the best during winter it is best to plant some selected plants that will add some color to your garden during the cold months.

All you need to do is to plant selected varieties in time. These will produce beautiful flowers and berries during winter so they will look great in your garden. Alternatively, you may opt for plants with gorgeous and brightly-colored foliage and stems.

Keep in mind that you cannot expect the richness of colors and varieties of blooms like in the spring and summer. However, it is possible to add some much-needed color and brightness to any garden during the cold winter months.

How to Organize Your Winter Garden

It is not difficult to have a gorgeous winter garden but you need some organization. Keep in mind that your garden in spring, summer and fall can focus on flowers and foliage but different rules apply for gardens in winter. These gardens need some structure to stay visually pleasing and to provide a striking effect.

This is why it is so important to carefully choose plants you want to plant in the spring. Make sure to consider varieties that will provide some color in the winter. Shrubs are great for this purpose because many of the varieties set colorful berries. Some trees are great for a winter garden because their bark has a striking color when the leaves are gone. All of these can provide some much-needed color to your winter garden. Ornamental trees and shrubs look amazing in the winter garden. Also, they are a good investment because they can add value to your property.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that berry bushes attract birds. Birds can make your garden more colorful and full of pleasant sounds. They will add a nice atmosphere and make any winter garden more vibrant. Birds can also add some movement and color in the garden so it is a fun place and not just a snow-covered landscape.

You may also opt for various ornamental grasses for your garden in winter. Choose those with tall, slender stalks that will sway in the wind and provide some movement. You can leave these grasses for the whole winter and then cut them down during the spring. This will promote new growth of the ornamental grasses and make the plants stronger and healthier.

The Best Plants for Adding Color to a Garden in Winter

Here are some popular varieties you can use during winter to add some beauty and color to your garden during the col months. However, it is important to check the plants' Cold Hardiness Zones before you choose to grow them in your garden. Any plant you pick for your garden should be able to survive in your climate.

The most popular plants for your winter garden include:


Also known as Dogwood, Cornus is a plant that often has amazing colors of the branches. While not all varieties of Dogwood provide color, there are many who do. This is a great way to add some much needed color to your winter garden.

Dogwood has several popular varieties you can grow in your garden. The most popular one is the Red Twig. This is a compact shrub that has dark red stems in the winter. This adds some bright colors to your garden during the cold months. Another popular variety is the Yellow Twig. This one is famous for its bright yellow stems.

Cornus can grow in Climate Hardiness Zones 3 to 7. Keep this in mind if you wish to grow Cornus plants in your garden during winter.


Illex has shiny green leaves that are very striking and will add elegance to your garden. Another great thing are the berries that change color. The berries change color with the temperature, which makes Illex plants excellent choice for the garden in winter.

It is best to always plant male and female shrubs together. They will produce numerous berries, which will add even more color to your garden. This is the best way to make your Illex plants look their best.

The most popular varieties of Illex plants for getting color in the winter are Winter Gold and Jersey Delight. Winter Gold produces clusters of yellow berries in the fall while Jersey Delight has bright red berries.

Illex plants can thrive in Hardiness Zones 4 to 8 so keep this in mind if you want to grow these plants in your garden.


Helleborus is a beautiful, compact plant that grows flowers in the winter. The blossoms appear above the green, lance-shaped leaves. This plant flowers from January to March in numerous regions and climate conditions.

The most popular varieties of Helleborus include Winter's Bliss Lenten Rose, with cream flowers; Mardi Gras Bicolor Mix Lenten Rose, with flowers in the shades of pink; and Pine Knot Select Strain Lenten Rose, with lavender and purple flowers.

This plant will thrive in Hardiness Zones 4 to 9.

Camellia Japonica

This is a beautiful shrub with dark green leaves. The leaves keep their color throughout the whole year. A great thing about certain species of this plant is that they bloom in winter, which can add a lot of color to your garden.

The most popular variety for a winter garden is the Alba Pena. This one has winter flowers so it looks very attractive. Another great variety is the Bob Hope. This one has gorgeous magenta flowers with yellow stamens.

Camellia Japonica can thrive in Hardiness Zones 8 to 10 so keep this in mind if you want to grow this plant in your garden during winter.


Hamemelis, also known as Witch Hazel, is famous for its blossoms. These gorgeous flowers grow on bare twigs during the winter. This makes for a very attractive sight in a winter hedge.

Another great thing about this plant is a pleasant fragrance. This will add another wonderful note to your garden in winter. This makes Hamamelis an excellent shrub to plant near doorways.

Hamamelis can thrive in Hardiness Zones 5 to 9.


Miscanthus is known for white plumes. This is a 5 foot tall ornamental grass that provides a striking sight during the winter. It will peek above the snow blankets and enhance the look of your garden.

Miscanthus can grow in Hardiness Zones 6 to 9 so keep this in mind if you want to grow it in your garden during winter months.

A Chance for New Color

All of the above varieties are great for adding some color to your garden during winter. However, not everybody thinks about winter garden. Sometimes, we simply forget to plant shrubs and other plants that can add color to the garden in winter. Is there something to do late in year to still add some new color to the garden?

Luckily, there is a solution. Simply plant ornamental heirloom vegetables in the beds and containers. Good choices are Swiss chard, kale and cabbage varieties. These will add some color to your winter garden.

Another choice is to hang bird feeders around the garden. This will attract birds that will stay in the garden throughout the whole winter. You may also want to add some heater to bird baths because birds are always searching for water during the cold months. This is a great way to attract birds and use them for some color and vibrant atmosphere in your winter garden.

Photo credit: Distant Hill Gardens

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